Bitcoin

Miguel Gutierrez, Jr./KUT News

As the city prepares for the international mobs of South by Southwest, one small but growing industry is doing some last-minute tinkering. The nation’s first cash-dispensing bitcoin ATM was installed about a year ago at HandleBar on E. Fifth St., just in time for SXSW last year. But for the last few months it’s been out of service, in need of a software upgrade. Sheldon Weisfeld, CEO and co-founder of CoinVault ATM, went in Monday to make the necessary repairs.

"The website of major bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox was offline Tuesday amid reports it suffered a debilitating theft, a new setback for efforts to gain legitimacy for the virtual currency," The Associated Press reports . Also Tuesday, all the posts had been erased from the Mt. Gox Twitter account . Around midmorning in the U.S., the company released a statement saying it had closed off transactions "to protect the site and our users." It offered no further details. The news about what's happening...

Kelly Krupa/KUT

The first cash-dispensing Bitcoin ATM machine in the U.S. launched today, and it’s right here in Austin. Bitcoin is a form of digital currency that was first developed in 2009; it is a peer-to-peer payment system that operates outside of a central authority or bank. As previously reported by KUT , Bitcoin was created for and traditionally used as a web-based currency, but some are attempting to move the currency offline. The new Bitcoin ATM represents a big step in the process of trying to brand Bitcoin as a more “mainstream” form of currency.

flickr.com/dekstop

Bitcoin is blowing up, both in the successful and not-so-successful sense. The currency is as volatile as a Texas summer is miserably hot. But the volatility’s not stopping Austin movers and shakers from capitalizing on the craze. Last week, a Bitcoin startup that will help grow the online currency popped up in Austin . But some Austin Bitcoin’ers are trying to moving the currency offline and into the real world.